Disclaimer: not mine
Regis was shocked by the announcement. An envoy? What was Iedolas playing at? First the retreat when winning and now this? He considered his options, glancing at Clarus and then his young cousin, though unable to see his reaction as Harry had his back to him. Finally, he nodded for the envoy to be admitted to the city, via the scenic route. He stood and motioned the two to follow him, leaving the Throne Room and Council behind.
"It must be a trap of some kind," Clarus immediately pointed out.
"They retreated after showing off their strength to make us more willing to accept terms," Harry agreed quietly, eyes scanning the halls, taking his role seriously despite his own Royal blood.
Regis knew if they were attacked, Clarus would defend them both, after all Harry was second in line to the Throne. He knew the younger male was chaffing under the restrictions they had placed to keep him safe, he understood his feelings all too well, but he could not bring himself to risk Harry on the front lines. One Lucis Caelum, even one with many of the Royal Arms, could not make enough of a difference to risk having him killed. His existence as a Royal was still somehow secret and that kept him safe. Still, if this envoy was the beginning of a plot to take Insomnia, that secret may soon come out.
He still had trouble with the fact that Harry wasn't actually Galahdan but from another world. They were related because of Leonis Gryffindor falling through to Eos from Earth, just like Harry had. He hated how much of a lie Harry was living, but there was little choice. No one else could know where he came from, and the Galahd truly believed he was one of them, it would destroy all trust between them if they learnt the truth. Who knew what it would do to young Argentum as well since a lot of his acceptance had begun with Harry. Speaking of, he was glad his son and his guard were away from the Citadel, the last thing they needed was for Prompto to be seen and recognised, Harry was right about his resemblance to Besithia.
They entered the small briefing room attached to the Throne Room and Regis sat, waving them to seats while wishing Cor was there as well. "Cor mentioned the two of you had found evidence of at least one spy, any clue to their identity?"
"Someone in the Glaive," Harry shrugged slightly. "Not one of the lower recruits either, it's someone with access to intel. We've ruled a few out, like Nyx and his friends, but it's slow going if we don't want to spook them."
"I have no choice but to at least hear the envoy out but I doubt the demands for peace if offered shall be small," Regis admitted.
"We can't just dump them off a ledge?" Harry offered cheekily, and Regis laughed, reaching out to gently tug a braid.
"I'm afraid not…unless they start something first."
"Harry, I want you on close guard position," Regis told him, watching green eyes go wide. "You've got the best eye in there, I want your observations of the envy and if something does happen, you're the only Guard who can cast a shield spell over the Council while Clarus and I deal with it."
Harry nodded in acceptance and they all had some water and a bathroom break before word came that the envoy had reached the Citadel.
Harry stood on the landing between staircases, off to the side to be less obvious. It put him between the King, Council, and the envoy should anything happen. He wondered who the Empire would have sent as envoy and he didn't like the timing of any of it. Did they realise an investigation had begun into a spy? He frowned as he sensed…something. There was darkness, hidden, but also something…familiar. He scented the air, wishing he could transform but that would definitely raise a more than a few eyebrows, wanting Pendragon's better senses. Whatever it was, it was dangerous…and coming closer, the envoy?
The doors opened and an…eccentrically dressed man walked through…maybe he shared fashion tips with some of the Wizarding World? The man looked around from under a wide brimmed hat, not taking it off despite being in doors and before the King.
"Hello there. Hello! Good day to you...And you. Well met, my dear Lucians," the envoy called, waving to the Council members as if he was a welcome visitor.
"Has Niflheim grown so bold that they send the chancellor himself as envoy? And under no guard, at that?" Regis asked, and Harry blinked in surprise. This was the Chancellor?
"It is an honour to be recognized by the great King Regis," he removed his hat to bow, not quite respectfully but not truly mocking either. There was something about him….almost…familiar? "Yet, permit me to stand on ceremony and introduce myself, nonetheless. Ardyn Izunia, chancellor of Niflheim at your humble service. And I come to you on this most auspicious of days to offer terms of peace."
Harry wasn't listening to the words anymore, mind spinning, Ardyn Izunia…no, it was just a coincidence, it had to be.
"Peace?" His King's voice snapped him out of his spiralling thoughts, even as the Chancellor began moving up step by step. Harry would not allow the man passed were he stood guard though. And with him…the darkness drew closer.
"As you no doubt surmised, that recent manoeuvre of ours was no strategic retreat. Call it...A gesture of imperial goodwill. Like you, we wish nothing more than to bring a swift end to this senseless war."
"Is that so?"
"It is, indeed." He stepped onto the landing, and Harry shifted into his line of sight, ready to summon a weapon.
Their eyes met and the world froze around him.
Ardyn had to admit he was rather enjoying himself as he was led through the Citadel, he hadn't gotten the chance to see inside during his last visit. It had changed a lot since his time, so much so that he recognised very little. The wing their rooms had been in was long gone and built over and he wasn't sure if that was a relief or not. He had so few pleasant memories anymore but there was one person he had never been able to forget…didn't want to forget no matter how much it hurt. The only true innocent in everything that had happened, even if the others had blamed him. It wasn't true…was it?
He shook his thoughts off as they approached the Throne Room, ignoring the pulse of the Crystal so close by. He settled his hat and smirked as the doors opened to admit him, ready to put on his performance. Regis showed no signs of recognition beyond his position, he had never revealed his true appearance to the then young King so why would he? No one stopped him mounting the stairs and he wondered how high he would get before they did even as he bantered with Regis.
He reached the landing and caught movement, a young Crownsguard shifting from the shadows and he found himself staring into green eyes. For a second he found himself wondering what young Noctis was doing dressed as a Guard before realising the Prince had blue eyes and this young man also bore the braids of a Galahdan. And the green eyes were a different shade to Regis'…a familiar shade that hurt to see, that he hadn't seen in two thousand years.
Everything vanished as he took in the boy…and his rage grew. How dare they!
Regis stared down at where Harry had moved from his position to ensure the Chancellor didn't come any higher. He saw Harry tense in reaction to something, felt his magic stir, and then he felt something he hadn't since before Noctis was born… Adagium. He straightened, leaning forward slightly, and then he saw Harry flash a sign, the emergency signal to get everyone out.
Regis glanced at Clarus and nodded, his Shield signally the rest of the Guard to get the Council out and fast.
Harry stared into golden amber eyes, he knew that shade, he'd seen them so long ago…but only rarely, they had normally been blue. But it couldn't be, it had been two thousand years, his family were long dead…and yet neither Uncle Somnus or Gil had spoken of his Dad. Could it be?
He felt the magic, the darkness, pressing in on him and flared his own enough to keep it from really affecting him. He could hear the other Guard moving to get everyone out thankfully.
"Dad?" the word slipped from his lips before he could stop himself, and the Chancellor snarled, enraged.
Noctis paused and then turned to look at the Citadel, the others walking passed him before realising he'd stopped.
"Noct?" Prompto called.
"There's something…" he could feel something.
Ignis pulled out his phone and called the Marshal, if anything was happening, he would surely know.
"Let's get off the street," Gladio glanced around, "we're drawing attention."
Noctis nodded and they moved into a nearby café to see what Cor had to say.
Regis stiffened at the question Harry whispered, the younger male sounding shocked and confused. He rose from his throne, not liking that tone at all, he sounded…lost. It wasn't possible, was it? Could the Chancellor of Niflheim truly be Harry's Dad? But then wouldn't he be from Earth too? No, he was sure he recognised that power from so many years ago.
"Harry!" he yelled in alarm, readying to warp, as the familiar violet/red of Adagium's armiger flared to life.
Regis was relieved as golden magic flared to life, Harry's family blade appearing in his hand to block.
Ardyn summoned his magic to attack the imposter who dared to have his child's eyes only to stare as golden magic flared in return, a familiar blade appearing. He heard Regis call out his son's name even, how could he know that when Ardyn had been erased from the histories? No! It wasn't possible. His son was two thousand years dead and it was all his fault. What plot was this?
And yet the boy before him held his blade with a surety he remembered, his stance…one Gilgamesh had taught him. And that blade, there had never been an image recorded so how could it have been copied. And then the imposter hissed, no language known on Eos, one only his Harry had spoken, and while he could not speak it or truly understand, he knew that particular phrase.
"Who are you?" he demanded, pressing harder against the boy. He could not be him, he couldn't be.
"Dad please," the boy whispered, emerald eyes glowing with a slight golden hue as he used magic to bolster his strength.
He could see the Scourge madness in the golden eyes, even as he struggled to maintain his block. Out of the four of them, he'd been the weakest physically but the fastest, something that wasn't exactly helping. On the landing, he had no real room to manoeuvre, no cover, nothing. He'd hoped the unique colour of his magic and use of Parseltongue would be enough proof of his identity, as well as Gryffindor's sword but what else was there?
He suddenly stepped back and dropped, rolling clear of the older male, quickly regaining his feet. He caught sight of Regis standing before his throne, Clarus at his shoulder, both looking confused and worried. Secret was out now that he had called Ardyn, Dad. Would Regis hate him for keeping so many secrets? Kick him out? He shook his head slightly, forcing himself to focus even as he dodged a blast of magic.
A single soul stirred within the Ring, sensing the presence of two very familiar people along with the current King. He had hoped that they would never meet, perhaps a fool's hope, but he had never wished for his nephew to see what his beloved Father had become. He reached out to gain young Regis' attention, using his magic to manifest in the real world for the first time since he had saved him from Ardyn years before.
"Brother," he called, and Ardyn immediately spun to face him, almost snarling in rage. He didn't blame him, it was obvious he thought his son a trick of some kind.
"Uncle," Harry murmured in relief at seeing him.
Clarus stared in shock at the figure of a young man who looked surprisingly like Noctis appeared only to call Chancellor Izunia brother….and then Harry called him Uncle. Who? He glanced at a pale Regis who was staring with wide eyes.
"Regis?" he asked quietly.
"The Mystic...the Founder King."
Ardyn looked at the image of his brother, hearing the boy call him Uncle.
"Peace, brother," the blue image held a hand out to him.
"I won't be tricked!" he snapped, keeping them all in view.
The boy shook his head, releasing his sword to call something else from the Armiger, holding it out to him. Ardyn glanced down to see the picture they'd had painted for Harry's twenty fifth birthday, all of them together and happy, one year before his son had been taken so cruelly.
"Forgive me brother, I should never have doubted you," Somnus spoke. "When Harry appeared before me after finding my Royal Arm," the spirit shook his head.
"I woke up back at the Castle, Dad. Remember the painting and how it should have been different? Time flows differently, it was two thousand years here but for me it was only six. And you know how screwed up my aging is," the boy spoke up. "I never should have gone back into the forest, turns out it went both ways between the worlds. I never wanted to go back…even though Prophecy demanded it."
"Prophecy?" he asked, wary, he'd had quite enough of those.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..." he recited and then brushed the hair away from his face, revealing a very faint yet familiar scar. "He marked me when he killed my birth parents. For him to die I had to go back so as soon as I was close enough the magic snatched me."
Ardyn stared at the portrait in his hand, not faded with time at all. Oh how he wished he could go back to those times, they had been mostly happy before that blasted dragon had gotten involved. He looked up at the boy again, making himself truly study him. Could he believe them? If this truly was his son, alive and returned to him, then it would explain why Somnus had stepped in. No matter how they had fought, Harry had always been left out of it, protected, loved by them all. Could he believe it?
"Dad please, it's me," a hand stretched out towards him, fingers spread, weapon less.
How could his son stand by those traitors? Except…perhaps he didn't know what Somnus and his line had done to him. If he had just returned to this time with no knowledge of what had happened then of course he would seek out the family.
"Harry?" he asked, feeling the daemons press against his mind, raging, but he forced them back.
The boy nodded, but he wasn't a boy anymore was he? Six years back on Earth…he was in his thirties now even if he didn't look it.
Regis was shocked when the Mystic appeared, unarmoured. He looked so young…and scarily like Noctis, or rather Noctis looked like him. Ardyn Izunia…Adagium…was the Founder's brother? He remembered that day, looking at the book and seeing the man had a nephew, Harry James Lucis Caelum, a name that stood out in their family. He had thought Harry named for an ancestor…but they were saying he was that Harry? That would mean he had been to Eos before? How many secrets did his cousin hold? He had wondered how Somnus could have a nephew with no sibling listed but this…this explained it. he had been expunged from the family record, given the name Adagium to hide his connection to them.
What would happen now?
Harry stretched his hand out to his Father, begging him to accept him, to fight back the madness.
"Harry?" he finally spoke his name, and Harry nodded.
"It's me, I'm home," he promised.
Ardyn took a step towards him, looking him over, and then his fingers brushed Harry's cheek. "My son," he whispered, the madness fading to hope.
Harry stepped in and hugged him, under the lawyers he was far too skinny. Who had been looking after him without Harry and with Gil locked away in the Tempering Grounds. He felt his Dad stiffen but then hesitant arms wrapped around him in return. Harry trembled, clutching closer, he'd never thought he'd see him again. He buried his nose in Ardyn's jacket, inhaling his scent, it had changed, hidden by the smells of the modern world, machinery…Scourge…but underneath it all was the scent that had meant safety since he was thirteen.
Somnus watched as his brother fought back the madness to hold his son, the boy clinging onto him. If Harry hadn't disappeared, could his presence have helped Ardyn? How much could have been different? He looked to his descendant, seeing the confusion but also dawning realisation.
"Harry James Lucis Caelum, born Harry James Potter, son of Ardyn Lucis Caelum, called Little Healer," he named his nephew. "Though adopted by my brother he is family, as a descendant of Leonis Gryffindor's family. The first Prince of Lucis." He had ensured the title had been given to Harry once he had been crowned, though he had believed it to posthumously at the time.
"And your brother?" Regis asked him.
"Scorned by the Astrals, driven mad by the Scourge he took into himself to heal the people. When he returned without Harry and then Area died…he was driven utterly insane, a monster. And so he was locked away, unkillable, until the Chosen King comes."
What? He had been given only the very bare basics of the Prophecy by Bahamut. There had been no mention of fighting an unkillable ancestor. How would that rid the world of the Starscourge? Just what were the Astrals planning for his son and….many times Great-Uncle?
Clarus didn't know what to think. One of the Lucii had appeared before them and was claiming young Harry as his nephew and the Chancellor as his brother. He knew the family was prone to drama but this?
Cor made his way through the Citadel, fighting the urge to run. He hadn't needed the call from Ignis to know something was happening. He could feel the magic building in the Throne Room, where apparently an envoy from the Empire was meant to be meeting Regis. He should have been there! Then again he had Clarus and Harry with him, they should be enough to handle any threat. What could be happening? And then he received word of the Council being evacuated from the room, leaving only the King, Clarus, and Harry with the envoy. He just hoped he got there in time before something happened, he did not wish to outlive another King.
Noctis couldn't help staring towards the Citadel, he could feel the power in the air. Something was happening, he needed to know what, but Cor had made it clear, they were not to return until given the all clear. He hated not knowing, his Dad and cousin were in there! A glance at Prompto showed he was just as worried for his boyfriend. Prom had never dated before Harry but he'd been so happy with Harry. He was glad they were looking towards marrying. Then his best friend would also be his cousin, would be family. Well, so long as what was happening at the Citadel didn't go wrong.
After all, ignis had been told to get him out of the city if he gave the word. He hadn't left since returning from Tenebrae! What could be so bad that Cor would think he might be safer outside the Wall?